Fred Morgan wrote:Once you learn how to use it, it is amazing how much you can cut with a scythe in a day. It leaves the grass in nice rows for collect too - which I appreciate when feeding the sheep.
Eric Thompson wrote:Now I would be the first to admit to being overly analytical at times, but when you talk about lots of manual labor:
- I often hear that our industrial food supply depends on 9 calories of fossil fuels for each calorie of food
- People eat a lot of industrial food - and more when they do more manual labor!
- So doesn't each calorie spent toward manual labor really trace back to food from a lot of fossil fuels? Is it possible that in these giddy pre-apocalypse times that we might SAVE energy (and food!) by using electric gadgets for any of us not already converted over to 90% non-industrial food)
- Cutting Firewood: chainsaw or bucksaw
Either way, this is a fairly strenuous activity with all the wood to be moved and stacked, but there's no doubt that the sawyer with the bucksaw will be more tired -- and hungry -- at the end of the day and will probably have to go out again for the next 6 days to catch up to the chainsaw wielder. So let's agree that there's a significant energy cost to bucking by hand, including whatever multiplier is appropriate for your particular diet. How does it compare to the energy expended by the chainsaw? Well, I really don't know. The wider kerf a chainsaw cut means more work (in the physics sense) is being done to cut a log by chainsaw than by bucksaw. The wider kerf also means marginally more waste (more of the tree becomes sawdust instead of firewood). But the cyclic motion of the engine and chain are more efficient when compared to the oscillating motion of torso, arm and saw of the bucksaw user. You can cut quite a lot of wood on a gallon of gas. I'm going to say that there's no clear winner here. I'd be happy to hear other opinions.
To summarize this point, the energy demands of a human powered activity are often much lower than those of its motorized equivalent, but you really have to consider each case on its merits.